LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) announced Wednesday they have received $2.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a five-year project to increase colorectal cancer screenings in the state.
Arkansas ranks 34th in the nation for the number of people per capita who are screened for colorectal cancer on a yearly basis.
The American Cancer Society predicts 1,540 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020 and 610 will die due to the disease.
According to CDC guidelines, people aged 50 and older should be screened yearly for colorectal cancer, and people with a family history of the disease should start screenings sooner.
Partnerships in Colorectal Cancer Screening in Arkansas is a project of the Department and Preventive Medicine’s Community Health and Education Division. Director of the Community Health and Education at UAMS Alysia Dubriske is leading the program and managing the grant.
“This grant allows us to address these disparities in Arkansas by working with both health care providers and the public,” Dubriske said. “We will educate providers on evidence-based approaches for increasing colorectal cancer screening and then partner with them to implement those interventions. This will be supported by a communication campaign directed at the public so they better understand the importance of screening.”
According to a news release from UAMS, the approaches include automatic reminders for health care providers to reach out to patients who are overdue for screening, increasing media and communication efforts and improve access to prevention, early-stage diagnosis and treatment for Arkansans who live in rural areas.
The program will target primary care clinics, especially in counties that have low screening rates and low household incomes.
The program will work with providers to teach them best practices and help them use techniques in their clinics.
“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the amount of late-stage colorectal cancer in Arkansas and the number of colorectal cancer deaths in Arkansas,” Dubriske said. “Colorectal cancer is a highly treatable disease, especially if caught early, and we know that screening saves lives. We’re looking forward to partnering with clinics to make a difference.”
According to the news release, UAMS will work with Federally Qualified Health Centers and Arkansas’s Quality Improvement Organization to implement the project.